War and Peace Newbies Read-Along | Week Three

Welcome one, welcome all, to the third of my weekly progress reports  for War and Peace. I am happy to report that I have officially now read further than I did on my previous attempt to tackle this mammoth of a book – if nothing else, that’s progress, and we can call it a success even if I don’t read a word more. I mean, obviously I’d prefer it if I did read significantly more words and finish the entirety of the book but still…

You may have seen my previous weekly post summarising my week 2 progress, if not please do pop on over to it to see how it went. And for those who have no idea what I’m going on about at all, you may want to head on over to the blog of the War and Peace Newbies Read-along host Laura from Reading In Bed.

Every week I’m doing a short progress post or wrap-up of my thoughts so far on the book, all very low key, probably in the form of bullet points, and likely not always coherent. So don’t expect eloquence or a comprehensive guide to the novel is what I’m trying to say – at best, my approach is scatter-gun and what catches my eye probably isn’t the most important detail in the text. Expectations lowered accordingly? Ok, then let’s see how Week 3 went, which covered Part I, Volume III of War and Peace…

  • If you want an added level of difficult to your already difficult read, try reading on a Monday morning train ride into work when you’ve not had any coffee yet, feel like crap because periods, it’s hot and you’re uncomfortable, and then three chattering Scouse women sit down next to you and talk at a volume best described as “loud enough for the entire train to hear them”.
  • It’s Tuesday morning. I opened my book happily on the train – the SAME GROUP of loud women got on again in the carriage I was in. I swear this is a conspiracy so that I can NEVER concentrate on War and Peace. How dare people do such heinous things as talk to each other on public transport, ughhhhh.


  • Pierre is basically just staring at Helene’s boobs right now. I doubt he is the type of man who has any subtlety in the act. In fact, I’d bet money on the fact that he’s just outwardly gaping at her bosom by the way he’s thinking about her “marble skin” right now. That phrase “marble skin” is one of the most ‘ew’ phrases I ever have the misfortune to read in bad fanfic, so it’s nice to see it make an appearance here.

tomkat_leer.gif(Side note: This gif is a not at all accurate depiction of how I imagine Pierre checks Helene out, in fact I imagine the exact opposite. Sorry, I just like the gif, I rarely have a chance to use it, and it forever amuses me for its lack of subtlety.)
(Side note #2: Mind you, I’d probably look at Kat Dennings like that if I was sat next to her and she looked that stunning.)
Completely irrelevant notes aside, back to Pierre…

  • Now Pierre is just like LOL WUT at Vasily as he congratulates him prematurely (and sneakily, well played Vasily, 10/10 for cunning and guile) about him and Helene. Poor Pierre, he didn’t ask for this when he stared at Helene (/Helene’s marble skin, ew) nervously. She’d eat him right up though – well she would in the BBC miniseries, she’s so predatory it’s hilarious. Damn Pierre he doesn’t know what he’s started by… by…  well, just by existing and becoming Count Bezukhov.
  • I deeply identify with Princess Marya as she’s sat thinking she’s ugly but imagining a rich handsome man sweeping her off her feet all the same – gurl, I feel you so hard. (p. 234)
  • Anatole is going to be unbearable, I can tell already. “Anatole is no genius, but he’s a good, honest boy, a fine son and a family man.” says Vasily (p. 239) – ha, yeah a reaaaal family man. (Incest, I’m implying incest, or at the very least a “special bond”. As does even episode 1 of the miniseries. I presume Tolstoy will get to that in due course.)
  • “[Anatole] was beginning to feel towards the pretty and seductive Mademoiselle Bourienne the kind of animal passion that sometimes swept over him with amazing speed and urged him to indulge in the most reckless and boorish behaviour” (p. 241) – um, ew “animal passion”. Then they play footsie under the piano, obv.
  • Nikolay bursts into where Boris is staying and is basically Lieutenant George again (I won’t stop with this comparison) and tells this hugely heroic story of how he was injured because that’s what is expected of him and he wouldn’t want to throw Boris off by telling the truth which is bor-ing instead of being oh so heroic and manly in his own story – duh! He’s also portrayed as very loud, yet another reason he is George (except at least George has some sense of decorum and asks for permission from his superiors a lot).

  • Nikolay’s back is up about the battle because Andrey shows up mid-story and Nikolai doesn’t take to him and presumes he’s the sort of staff officer who doesn’t do anything close to the heat of the battle – psh, Nikolay, like you even did anything but get slightly injured and run away. Then obv Nikolay leaves in a huff because he’s a big baby even after Andrey has been reasonable and tried to give him the advice to ‘just leave it’ essentially but Nikolay is now torn between grumbling about him under his breath and wanting to challenge him to a duel. Lol, that would not end well. (p. 259)


  • The inspection of the army by the Tsar (p. 259/Chapter 8) is what I could have really used back at the start of part 2 tbh, it sets out the regiments splendidly and is almost mathematical with the way it portrays them. It’s interesting to see the contrast between the frenzy and chaos of miscommunication and death against the now-regimented groups of men. Also Nikolay is totally in love with the Tsar, it’s bordering on veneration, and yep he’s very George-like still, assuming his leader can do no wrong and at any given moment being about 5 seconds away from bursting out into a patriotic song celebrating his greatness and magnificence.
  • Boris goes to see Andrey in the hope of gaining an adjutant/staff position like his and he realises the importance of the unwritten hierarchy or code or whatever – basically, your given rank means NOTHING.
  • Whilst Boris is talking to Andrey we also have a bit of stereotyping about the Germans because who doesn’t love casually stereotyping about those silly Germans, eh, eh??:
    • ‘I’m so sorry you didn’t find me in yesterday. I was busy all day with the Germans. I went out with Weierother to check the disposition. You know what Germans are like about details – they go on for ever!’
      Boris smiled, as if he understood as a matter of common knowledge what Prince Andrey was talking about. But it was the first time he’d heard the name Weierother, and he didn’t know what ‘disposition’ meant in this context. (p. 265)
  • Nikolay venerates (read: is in love with) the Tsar and it’s funny af – he’s all starry-eyed and I think someone has a little crushhhhhhh. Nikolay and Alexander sitting in a tree, K-i-s-s-i-n-g.
  • Kutuzov literally fell asleep when they were discussing the Very Important battle plans for the next day’s battle… like, he had no shame at all and didn’t even pretend to stay awake whilst they were all discussing the best thing to do. In a weird way, I respect that complete brazenness.


  • Seriously though Nikolay this obsession is getting a leeeettle creepy – ” ‘I’ve heard so many stories about him getting to know an officer just like that and taking him on. Oh, if only he would take me on! Oh, how closely I would guard him, and I’d tell him the truth, I’d expose anybody who tried to deceive him!’ And by way of imagining his love and devotion to the Tsar more vividly, Rostov dreamt of some enemy or treacherous German that he was about to enjoy dispatching and he would slap him across the face right in front of the Tsar.” (p. 282) Yeaaaaah, ok dude, I think you got it baaad for him.

emmastonelovewithhim.gif emmastonelovewithhim2.gif

Aaaand that’s a wrap, guys! We made it all the way through Volume I – that deserves a moment of celebration, surely? Woo! Ok, onwards and upwards, and into Volume II, may it treat me as kindly as the first one has…

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